David Azimale Omido, the Manager in Charge of Logistics and Utilities at Tororo Cement says that the company has conducted a geological mapping to establish quantities of limestone deposits in the area and its preliminary findings are encouraging. Omido, however, says that the land for the factory must be owned by the company or leased out for at least 99 years.
Moroto District Natural Resource Officer, John Lotyang, says the damage caused on environment through mining is alarming and threatens livelihoods in the district. He notes that many empty holes are being dug daily as people comb the land for minerals yet nothing is done to restore the areas.
In Moroto, the district Chairperson, Andrew Napaja Keem was denied access to the DAO Marble Mining Site last year. Other leaders in Nabilatuk, including the district youth chairperson reported denial to the mining site in his district.
Gerald Eneku, the Inspector of Mines in North Eastern Uganda says the license was cancelled after all attempts to have the company back to the site failed. He explains that Jan Mangul hijacked some of the required procedures into the acquisition of the mining lease, something he notes disadvantaged its production in Moroto.
The residents who are drawn from various villages in Rupa Sub County are demanding over Shillings 300 million for leasing more than 100 acres of land in Nanyidik area in Rupa Parish to Sunbelt Company, a mining company dealing in marble.
Jackson Angella Nawot, an elder and vice chairperson of Moroto District Mineral Watch Platform says the speculators have stood in the way for better bargaining power for the local community in the region.
The site was operated by DAO Marble Africa Limited, a Private Owned Marble Company with exclusive quarries across East Africa. DAO started extracting marble from the site in 2013 after securing a mining lease from the Energy and Mineral Development Ministry through the Department of Geological Survey and Mine
In 2010, Cornelius Kodet, the brain behind the factory was given 100 acres of land by the community to construct 100 houses for the elders. However, since then, the houses have never been constructed. Rupa residents were surprised to learn that Kodet was instead planning to construct a cement factory and was in possession of a land title of 442 acres.
Denis Okori, the Manager Moroto, Nakapiripirit Religious Leaders Initiative for Peace, MORNALIP, one of the consortium in the Anti-corruption fight in the region, says there are a lot of irregularities in the mining sector characterised by exploitation of the residents and their leaders.
Kosiroi mining site is the limestone base for Tororo Cement. The company has been ferrying limestone from Kosiroi since 2002 to facilitate activities at its factory in Tororo district. The company has two mining leases in Kosiroi.
The idea to draft a Memorandum of Understanding MoU emerged following a standoff in July 2016. The community blocked Tororo Cement from accessing the site in Kosiroi village over low prices, land compensation and surface rights. The stormy event compelled the state minister for minerals, Peter Lokeris, to hold a crisis meeting with the parties involved including officials for the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
A report by Human Rights Watch reveals that mining in Karamoja could transform the region from the stories of malnutrition and poverty levels often heard. The report, â€œHow Can We Survive Here? The Impact of Mining on Human Rights in Karamoja, Uganda,â€ points out that in the drive to attract investment in the region, government should also take note of the rights of the indigenous people.
About 800 families living in the Rupa and Katikekile mineral rich Sub Counties in Moroto district face eviction as investors commence mining activities. So far Government has awarded seven mining licenses to international and local companies in Moroto district. These include Tororo Cement, African Minerals, India Marble, Jay Magal Gold Mining Company, and Dao among others.